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Govt establishes new relations with Niger Delta

25 February 2016, 17:12Emeka Okonkwo

Abuja - The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani, has assured locals of the government’s commitment to empowering the region.

Speaking at a workshop in Abuja, Usani said government as determined to correct the wrongs of the past administration, whose initiatives he said empowered a few especially the elite.

“Previous efforts highlighted projects, the new approach will emphasize holistic programmes under which the projects fall. Previous efforts made a few individuals rich, the new approach will bring wealth to the communities,” said Usani at the event Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Presidential Amnesty Programme Office, Federal Ministry of Environment and other development partners organised.

He said previous efforts created “monsters” that were bigger than the communities but new efforts would address this.

Also Read: Shell warns on Nigeria Forcados crude exports due to spill

“Previous efforts were characterized by corruption and bribery of government officials, the new approach will bring all stakeholders into a transparent commitment to the development of the Niger Delta region,” the minister added.

He said previous efforts paid more attention to mega projects like roads and huge buildings which however celebrated were “half-heartedly” implemented.

“The new approach will pay considerable attention to projects that will truly empower the people-training, skill acquisition and ethical re orientation,” Usani said.

While it is rich in oil, the effects of the commodity in the fragile Niger Delta communities and environment have been enormous.

Local indigenous people have seen little if any improvement in their standard of living while suffering serious damage to their natural environment. According to government figures, there were more than 7 000 oil spills between 1970 and 2000.

- CAJ News


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